Sixers Training Camp Battles
Sixers Adam breaks down the biggest training camp battles.
Adam Aaronson, whose legal name is Sixers Adam (@SixersAdam on Twitter), covers the Sixers for The Rights To Ricky Sanchez. He believes cantaloupe is the best food in existence, and is brought to you by the Official Realtor of The Process, Adam Ksebe.
With most of the dust being settled, we have a decent idea by now of what the Sixers’ roster is going to look like entering the 2o22-2023 NBA season. What we are not sure of, however, is which members of said roster will be given consistent playing time.
With that being said, it’s time to shift gears and look towards training camp. Because unlike many recent Sixers teams, this group will see legitimate competition for supreme position on the team’s depth chart.
There are unresolved solutions at just about every position. Let’s dive into them.
Paul Reed vs. Charles Bassey
The first training camp battle that will go down is likely the easiest one in which we can predict the winner. While Bassey showed legitimate potential last season between excellent G-League play and a brief run as part of the big club’s rotation, Reed has to be the clear frontrunner here due to the way he performed late in the regular season and in the playoffs.
Bassey is a far superior rebounder when compared to Reed thanks to his much bigger frame. But outside of that, BBall Paul has just about every advantage over his competition.
Despite having miniscule NBA experience, Reed stepped into two playoff series and was a completely viable backup center candidate. Most of that time was spent focusing on the disaster that was DeAndre Jordan playing time. Lost in the shuffle, I think, was exactly how impressive Reed’s feats were.
To be thrown into the fire in any context and immediately produce satisfactory results is incredibly hard in the NBA. To do that in the playoffs like Reed did is extraordinarily rare and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
I think Bassey has a chance at earning playing time in certain matchups, perhaps against larger, more traditional bigs. But for the most part, I think Reed has earned the chance to be Joel Embiid’s full-time backup.
Matisse Thybulle vs. Danuel House Jr.
At the beginning of 2020-21, or even at the outset of 2021-22, the idea that Thybulle wouldn’t be a lock for considerable playing time seemed impossible. But after a season filled with inconsistency and frustration and a putrid postseason performance, Thybulle could be on thin ice.
Even if his defense took a step back last season, there is no denying that Thybulle is one of the league’s premiere perimeter defenders. But that must be weighed against the fact that he is one of the single worst offensive players in the NBA among regular rotation pieces.
With trust in Thybulle waning, the Sixers had good reason to go out and add a wing. They did so, and Thybulle’s role may be in jeopardy as a result.
The Sixers gave House Jr. their full bi-annual exception on a two-year deal (including a player option). Their considerable investment in him indicates that Daryl Morey and Doc Rivers envision a considerable role for the 29-year old wing.
Assuming Thybulle is not dealt between now and the start of the season, he will likely be part of the rotation in some capacity. But I would not be surprised at all if he plays far fewer minutes than House Jr.
Furkan Korkmaz vs. Isaiah Joe
This competition will very much be under the radar, as the winner of it likely won’t even be a regular rotation piece. But, as we know far too well, injuries happen in the NBA, and every team’s depth is tested throughout an 82-game regular season.
I’d be surprised if either of these two play real minutes on opening night. But what happens when one of the Sixers’ solidified wings goes down? One of these two filling in for an injured perimeter player is not just possible, but likely.
So, who do you pick -- the player making $5 million, one who struggled mightily last year but has been a very helpful rotation piece in the past, and who has a bit of off-the-dribble juice to go with his spot-up shooting, or the young prospect entering the third and final season of his first NBA contract who may have a lower floor but could also have a higher ceiling?
Personally, I would be giving Joe the chance to crack the rotation before Korkmaz because I believe NBA reps are paramount to accelerating a young player’s development. But we know how Rivers feels about established players with more prior experience than a younger counterpart.